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Spore DRM Protest Makes EA Ease Red Alert 3 Restrictions

Soulskill posted about 6 years ago | from the step-in-the-right-direction dept.

PC Games (Games) 486

Crazy Taco writes "The heavy Amazon.com protest of Spore's DRM appears to have caught the attention of executives at EA. IGN reports that DRM for the upcoming C&C: Red Alert 3 will be scaled back. Unlike previous Command and Conquer games, the CD will not be required in the drive to play. The online authentication will be done just once (rather than periodic phone calls home), and up to five installations will be allowed, as opposed to three for Spore. While I still think five installations is too few (I've probably re-installed Command and Conquer: Generals 20 times over the years for various reasons), EA says they will have staff standing by to grant more installations as necessary on a case by case basis. So, while this still isn't optimal, at least we are getting a compromise. Hopefully, if the piracy rate for the game is low, perhaps EA will get comfortable enough to ship with even less DRM in the future."

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How is this a compromise? (5, Insightful)

ccguy (1116865) | about 6 years ago | (#24999023)

They are just saying 'OK, Spore hurt too much and the customers are making too much noise. Let's use a smaller dick with the next game'.

What they should do is be honest and describe the limitations in the box.

-Warning: Zero resale value.
-This game can only be installed 5 times.
-This game will refuse to run when other applications are running or installed.
-Some applications will be installed to verify playing rights. These applications will be running even when the game is not.

Would that hurt sales? If they think they are offering a reasonable 'compromise' then they should just do it, and no one will have a reason to complain.

If they think it would be suicidal to do it, then they know they are still fucking their customers. So expect no sympathy.

Don't worry about DRM (-1, Offtopic)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#24999303)

From looking at those linked screenshots all I can say is it looks like shit, way to much colors and weird objects in the scene. Those statues from Rapa Nui, ballons in different colors and so on. Wtf?

Sure I guess some of them may be ok in an "urban setting" but it draws away your attention. Way to much information and things to look at in once imho.

Give me starcraft 2 already =P, though I guess it's hard to compare oneself to a title like that :)

Re:How is this a compromise? (1)

Azruelli (1196669) | about 6 years ago | (#24999319)

Can spore really only be installed five times? Is this just five times ONLY or just on five different machines? Now it's really making me rethink even opening it whenever I get the chance to play it..

Re:How is this a compromise? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24999323)

No, Spore can only be installed three times. Red Alert 3 can only be installed five times.

Re:How is this a compromise? (3, Informative)

Ubahs (1350461) | about 6 years ago | (#24999355)

Spore can only be installed three times. Without making phone calls, it's three installs ONLY.

RA3, will be able to be installed five times.

Re:How is this a compromise? (4, Insightful)

hansamurai (907719) | about 6 years ago | (#24999773)

And EA still has no obligation to fulfill more than 3/5 installs. 10 years from now when I want to play Spore will those staff still be standing by to help me out or will they instead suggest to buy Spore 3 and go screw myself?

Re:How is this a compromise? (3, Interesting)

Ubahs (1350461) | about 6 years ago | (#24999893)

I'm pretty sure it's the latter..."go screw yourself, but give us more money first."

I'm recommending to everyone I know that they should buy it and pirate it at the same time. It inflates the piracy numbers making EA slightly more scared, you still show your support for certain aspects of the project (the core game) - and you're protecting your financial investment by future proofing it against EA's decisions.

That and there is a good chance the retail game won't work in a decent percentage of the population's DVD-ROM's...so, downloading the game is the only way many people are even able to play their purchase. For example, my roommates year old laptop wouldn't spin up the game, she had to go through three DVD-ROM's to be able to install the damned game. This is after a nightmare OS/HD wipe and reinstall. No game should cause you to do that, just so you can install it.

Re:How is this a compromise? (5, Insightful)

LrdDimwit (1133419) | about 6 years ago | (#24999671)

Agreed. They still programmed the game to self-destruct. On purpose. So it's still unacceptable; If there's even a chance that, should I want to replay the game in 10 years, but I pop the game in and can't install it, then I'm not buying it. And if your game isn't good enough I'd want to play it twice, it's probably not good enough I'd want to play it once either.

Fundamentally, there is an important point with DRM on works of culture that's not applicable when applied to the things DRM is usually applied to. At work, for example, the provider of our middleware application has implemented license checks that could cause the same kind of issue. But a middleware app won't work cause it won't activate anymore? It's probably out of support anyway, time to move to a new version.

Businesses don't usually need a particular version -- and if they do, and it's a big enough showstopper, the vendor comes out and does a hot fix so new-version does what old-version did better. (Yes you can, I've seen it. You just have to need it badly enough.)

Games are different. Halo 2 is not the same as Halo. Twilight Princess is a very different game from Zelda 64. The "upgraded" original Star Wars trilogy cuts are widely seen as inferior to the original versions. Then there are games like Planescape: Torment, which is essentially unreleaseable (Interplay died, D&D license expired, uses 2nd edition, content wouldn't pass Hasbro's restrictions). So while enforcing obsolesence on middleware *might* be OK, it's definitely not OK to make video games that are essentially guaranteed not to work in 10 years.

So nice try, EA. Good, but not good enough. Games have an aesthetic quality; a given game is totally unique and irreplaceable -- that's why we like them.

Re:How is this a compromise? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25000287)

I don't see how they consider it "easing restrictions" by going from 3 installs to 5. That's the only change here. That you can play without the CD? So what? I can play a LOT of PC games without the CD (and even more if you count digital downloads). And that isn't easing anything anyway. Spore can be played without the CD and Red Alert had always been expected to be playable without a CD. Further, this "five installs" was in place for Red Alert BEFORE the whole Spore DRM issue. This is a non article, really.

Re:How is this a compromise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25000107)

Zero resale value goes against first sale doctrine.

Re:How is this a compromise? (5, Insightful)

wondershit (1231886) | about 6 years ago | (#25000327)

Very true. The answer remains no.

Solar Empire has no copy protection at all and has sold half a million copies.

There is something very wrong. I don't want to ask for permission to use something I legally bought. DRM server crashed? Sorry, no gaming for you today as it happened with Bioshock. There is absolutely no excuse for doing such a thing. Not piracy and nothing else. At least not in the way it is handled now (and I don't know of any unintrusive alternative).

We will not compromise (4, Interesting)

MindStalker (22827) | about 6 years ago | (#24999033)

No, securerom is a resident program on your computer, I should also not have to get permissions to install more than a few times. Spores limit of one account as well is ridiculous. I will not buy another game with securerom ever.

Re:We will not compromise (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 6 years ago | (#24999169)

Damn,here they go,making sure i won't buy their damned game. Do they have ANY idea how much money we old guys have spent on the C&C games? I bought RA I&II,and C&C:Renegade. Then when I heard about the Decade Pack I went out and bought it since I wouldn't have to fool around and deal with a bunch of discs when I wanted a C&C fix. Now here I was,all jazzed up to buy C&C:RA3,and then they have to do that limited activations crap. There is NO WAY IN HELL I'm going to get on the damned phone and do a little monkey dance for EA just to install something I PAID FOR!!!

I bet the pirates are laughing their asses off at the way EA is screwing themselves and turning off their customers with their limited activation "Secure Starforced Buttraper V2.0". It is like they are saying "Hmmm. Well we left a few customers able to walk after the Spore crap. Lets take something really cherished like C&C and stick it to them hard!". And lets face it: This has NOTHING to do with piracy,NOTHING AT ALL. This is about EA always hating the used game market. If you care anything at all about your right of first sale DO NOT BUY this game!!! I hope EA is happy,as I won't be buying another piece of software from them,I don't care if I found Spore and C&C 3 in the $1.99 bin. But as always this is my 02c,YMMV

Re:We will not compromise (1)

jps25 (1286898) | about 6 years ago | (#24999563)

Maybe we can download it for free, without the DRM, in 10 years or so.
I would buy it if it was less than 10EUR simply because I have collected all other C&C games, as I am an old geezer just like you who has fallen in love with what Westwood once created.
But like Joy Division once sang, "Love will tear us apart again", it seems this romance is over.

Re:We will not compromise (1)

nawcom (941663) | about 6 years ago | (#24999863)

Maybe we can download it for free, without the DRM, in 10 years or so.

Actually, you can probably download it for free without the DRM issues about 3 days before its official release date because someone in some big cracking group has connections. If not, then wait one hour after its official release; you will see it on TPB.

Sad, but true. The release of Spore may have caused people to wake the fuck up about what Securom is.

Re:We will not compromise (1)

jps25 (1286898) | about 6 years ago | (#25000323)

Yes I know, but I don't intend to pirate a game I don't plan on buying even if I liked it.
I find it morally wrong to pirate something and keeping it if I like it instead of buying it and showing my gratitude for hours of fun with that purchase.
The last game I pirated was Civilization 4, which initially had a lot of bugs with graphic cards. While the game was pure fun when it worked, the bugs affected my radeon 9800 pro, so a purchase was postponed and I deleted the game. After patch 1.74 was released last year I bought it and had fun with it ever since, even though it uses SafeDisc 4.

Re:We will not compromise (3, Interesting)

Jorophose (1062218) | about 6 years ago | (#24999577)

Then do things the right way, and flood their phones telling them they can't install their AIDS on your computer because they've hit their 0 install limit and need to beg YOU to get the game installed on your computer, or you're stealing it the proper way, cracking it, distributing it to all of your friends, and periodically calling them to let them know you're playing the game.

Actually, do that more. Everytime you load up Spore/C&C/MassEffect, call EA and tell them, "hi, I'm playing your game". Bonus points if you let them know you're running a cracked version.

Every time you play.

S'about time you give them twice as much crap.

Re:We will not compromise (4, Interesting)

Shihar (153932) | about 6 years ago | (#24999649)

I agree, I think EA is blowing its own foot off. I spend a LOT of money on games. I spend a lot of money on computer games. I am in the process of building a new machine from scratch is basically a gaming computer spawned from hell. I like games.

I also never pirate. The last time I pirated something I was 16. Buying things is quick, easy, and without hassle. Pirating on the other hand is a pain in the ass, time consuming, and risky. My time is worth more than what it takes to pirate. I have a large disposable income because I don't spend my money on cars, HD TVs, or anything like that. I'll buy a game if I have any interest it and I won't feel bad if I decide I don't like it. I have never resold a game. I am the perfect guy to sell games too.

I won't be buying Spore, C&C3, or anything with this absurd DRM. I am not going to have a game install crippleware onto my computer, and then limit how many times I can install games. I have reinstalled Starcraft, Fallout, and Knight of the Old Republic more times than I can count. Hell, I will burn through three installs in under a year. I will easily kill 5 installs in a year when I make/buy a new computer.

So, EA can continue down this path, but I won't go with them. It isn't going to stop piracy (as Spore has shown). If anything, it will increase piracy as the pirated version is the non-crippled version. So it won't stop piracy, but it will stop someone like me who merrily blows a few hundred dollars a month on games from buying.

Re:We will not compromise (4, Insightful)

mpeskett (1221084) | about 6 years ago | (#25000431)

Buying things is quick, easy, and without hassle. Pirating on the other hand is a pain in the ass, time consuming, and risky. My time is worth more than what it takes to pirate

I have the exact opposite leanings. To go buy a game I have to go out to some shitty games store (the ones around here are all shitty, your mileage may vary) and that takes time out of my day. At the very least I have to go online and buy it, and then it takes a few days to arrive. Pirated copy... takes minutes to find a torrent, then I can leave it downloading in the background and when I come back later it's done

Hell, it's not worth my time to not pirate stuff

Re:We will not compromise (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#24999677)

It's too bad; we've seen they're listening and they're willing to compromise. Sadly this is too little too late. At this point I'm going to have to demand full disclosure on label, no spyware and no viruses. EA has a lot to do to re-earn my trust after Bioshock, Spore, etc.

I still play their games from the 80s on my Commodore 64.

Re:We will not compromise (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#24999729)

To clarify, I mention Bioshock despite it not being from EA as it also uses SecuROM. I should probably have said that the industry as a whole and/or securom has a lot of trust to regain.

How to make them understand... the fun way! (4, Funny)

Bragador (1036480) | about 6 years ago | (#24999053)

Hehe you know what I'd do if I had the game?

Install it again and again, then call them to be able to reinstall it once a week (back up your saved games of course). Tell them it's because of windows and you had to reinstall it since some other unstable programs tend to screw the OS.

Lulz for everyone!

But they'd get the message ;)

Re:How to make them understand... the fun way! (0)

Selfbain (624722) | about 6 years ago | (#24999077)

Or they'd just stop reactivating it for you and you have to buy another copy...

Re:How to make them understand... the fun way! (4, Interesting)

GryMor (88799) | about 6 years ago | (#24999191)

At which point you return it, or (check your CC terms), dispute it if they decline to accept a return on a defective product, or after properly documenting everything, file a an action in small claims (this presumes you were not reinstalling it for spite, but instead, actually having problems).

Re:How to make them understand... the fun way! (1)

Crookdotter (1297179) | about 6 years ago | (#24999209)

But also, you are paying for every support call you make. What's the price of every phone call, and who is really losing out when you try this?

Re:How to make them understand... the fun way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24999679)

not if you call from a work phone! this works even better if you work at EA.

Re:How to make them understand... the fun way! (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#24999707)

You'd win in small claims court most likely; for the price of a game + legal fees companies won't usually bother even showing up.

Re:How to make them understand... the fun way! (1)

chill (34294) | about 6 years ago | (#24999765)

VoIP baby! No long distance charges.

Re:How to make them understand... the fun way! (1)

CelticWhisper (601755) | about 6 years ago | (#25000037)

That depends on whether it's a matter of practicality or principle. If you're out for practicality and just want things to work as easily as possible for you, then yes, you can make the case that you're losing out when you take the long road. However, if you're speaking from principle and you want to get a change made, then some sacrifices are necessary. Nobody ever said it was going to be painless, just that it will hopefully be more painful for EA in the long run.

Re:How to make them understand... the fun way! (1)

mxs (42717) | about 6 years ago | (#24999631)

Precisely what makes you think they'll not tell you to go take a hike ?
Precisely what makes you think that the rabid band of fanboys will cuss you out on forums when you report on this, because you obviously are a pirate ?

If the piracy rate is low? (5, Insightful)

sdhankin (213671) | about 6 years ago | (#24999071)

I don't see how that affects their decisions. Spore has reportedly been pirated half a million times - how has the DRM changed that? All it's done is piss off the paying customers, who are being treated like criminals.

DRM doesn't work against pirates. It only works against the honest people. When will companies learn that?

Re:If the piracy rate is low? (5, Insightful)

Aereus (1042228) | about 6 years ago | (#24999109)

To the contrary, I think it's probably driven MORE people to pirating the game just so they can say "screw you" to EA for the excessive DRM.

Re:If the piracy rate is low? (2, Insightful)

Jorophose (1062218) | about 6 years ago | (#24999597)

I was going to buy the Spore "Collector's Edition" if it wasn't for SecuROM. I'm sure I'm not alone. Even if most people would have waited for it to be 30$ or 20$, a lot of my friends were considering buying it. I told them not to, that we'll just get a cracked version.

I don't think anybody who wanted to buy the game and knew about the DRM actually bought it. Or if they did they're running a cracked version and bought the game due to troll's remorse or received it as a gift.

Re:If the piracy rate is low? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25000413)

Yeah, I was about to buy the Collector's Edition as well, but them I remembered that while American corporations want to take my money, Russian and Chinese pirate-hackers are out there cracking this stuff so the American corporations can lose their money and we, gamers, can have fun.
Then I went to piratebay and got mine for free. Spaciba, Russian hacker comrades!

DRM = Digitally Restricted Media (2, Insightful)

sdo1 (213835) | about 6 years ago | (#25000331)

Exactly. I was interested in this game and I surely would have bought it had I not learned of the DRM issues. Thank goodness for all of the outcry and press on this otherwise I might have fallen into the trap. I'm not much of a gamer, but the reviews of this game made we want to get it (the complaints hard-core gamers had of it actually made it appeal to me). I like how Will Wright's games are about "playing" rather than "winning".

But the DRM issue made me reconsider. I surely wasn't going to just buy it and install it. I'm just fundamentally opposed to buying things that would prevent me from exercising first sale doctrine. To me, I had two options. Buy it but download the non-crippled pirated version or do nothing. I've decided to do nothing. Buying it would give them $ and they won't learn. Instead, they don't get $50 from me.

EA has done nothing to prevent piracy and by doing this they lowered the intrinsic value of the game and pissed off would-be paying customers. Nicely done, EA. This issue is costing them millions. Good.

-S

Re:If the piracy rate is low? (1)

snemarch (1086057) | about 6 years ago | (#25000383)

Indeed.

I had planned on buying spore, but I definitely won't due to the *excessive* DRM. It's bad enough to have SecuROM slowing down gamecode and requiring the DVD to be in your drive, even though it's not being used for anything but copy protection.

But limiting the number of reinstalls? No way. Normally I would probably just have shrugged, and applied a crack to my legitimately purchased game. A part of spore is the online stuff (exchanging creatures, vehicles etc. with other people), and that would be blocked by using a pirate version.

EA can sod off, they're not getting my money. They're one of those companies that destroy everything they touch. I miss westwood.

Re:If the piracy rate is low? (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 6 years ago | (#24999339)

Because this has NOTHING to do with piracy. I repeat: NOTHING at all to do with piracy. This is a plan by EA to take out the used games market [neoseeker.com] and take away your right to first sale. So if you care about your right to sell games you no longer want then DO NOT buy this game or Spore! Until EA removes ALL the limited activation crap and gives us back our right to first sale I will no longer buy ANY EA game. No MoH,No Madden,nothing. And if enough of us do that then we can fight EA where it hurts:in the wallet.

Also be sure to stick bad reviews pointing out the limited activation DRM into Amazon and every review site on the web you can find,because I would have gotten "Spored" if I hadn't noticed the negative reviews and I'm sure I'm not alone. If we don't then every other company will see EA get away with it and think they can do it too. Do you WANT to have to sit on the phone for hours doing a little monkey dance for all the different game companies when Windows borks? But as always this is my 02c,YMMV

Re:If the piracy rate is low? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 6 years ago | (#25000011)

Hey, it'll work great! The used market for Spore is going to be stillborn. Of course, it hasn't done the new market any good either....

Re:If the piracy rate is low? (2, Informative)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | about 6 years ago | (#24999387)

If they get a lower piracy rate to sale rate with Red Alert 3, it will tell them that DRM harms sales. Simple.

Re:If the piracy rate is low? (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#24999719)

To paraphrase an earlier comment, the goal here is to eliminate the right of first sale, not to prevent piracy.

Less Piracy - Less DRM? WRONG! (5, Insightful)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | about 6 years ago | (#24999105)

Hopefully, if the piracy rate for the game is low, perhaps EA will get comfortable enough to ship with even less DRM in the future.

That's not how it works. If the piracy rate is low, they will herald their measures as a success, and it will only serve to increase the amount of DRM in the future.

-G

Re:Less Piracy - Less DRM? WRONG! (1, Informative)

cliffski (65094) | about 6 years ago | (#24999239)

says who?
Ea aren't retards, they are the biggest games company in existence. They PAY for the RDM, and for their customer service reps. if they think they could get away with ditching DRM tomorrow they would. Personally, I think they *could* ditch it tomorrow, and not hurt sales, but they seem to disagree.

Anyway you look at it, jerks like that kid on thepiratebay saying "everyone make this the most pirated game ever!" are NOT going to get DRM removed.

The success of stardock and similar companies will do more to persuade EA they don't need DRM then any amount of name calling or piracy of EA titles will.

Re:Less Piracy - Less DRM? WRONG! (1)

cliffski (65094) | about 6 years ago | (#24999257)

gah, should be DRM, not RDM. bloody lack of edit thing :D

Re:Less Piracy - Less DRM? WRONG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25000269)

I don't know:

RDM - Rights Destroying Middleware?

It has a good ring to it. I know alot of people like "Digital Restrictions Management" but I think RDM sounds better.

Re:Less Piracy - Less DRM? WRONG! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24999431)

The problem is this whole thing has become a vicious circle.

There are always people who will warez stuff; This will never change. Even if the games had no DRM, they'd still pirate the game.

Most people (Like me) would buy their games, however. (Possibly warezing it first to see if it's worth buying).
This was up until a few years ago 'tho; Now this group is shrinking rapidly - We are not keen on the ridiculous things being done to our systems by these games (It's only a f*****g game FFS! These programs have more ludicrous security than the programs I use for work!!), so we either don't buy them or migrate to the warez groups.

I haven't bought any games since WH40k:DoW abnd expansions, and only because that had no DRM at all.
I bought NWN1 years after it came out when they removed the DRM (And am still waiting for NWN2's DRM to bbe removed before I buy it.)

On a side note, I bought GalCiv2 on the basis that it had no DRM, but this turned out to be a fat dirty lie. (The game doesn't have DRM, but the patches to make the game NOT SUCK do. And now you need to install a Steam-like DRM-facilitating client just to download the patches!)

Re:Less Piracy - Less DRM? WRONG! (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | about 6 years ago | (#24999883)

They PAY for the RDM, and for [...]

Restrictions Digital Management; riight... Use grammar French much?

Re:Less Piracy - Less DRM? WRONG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24999265)

a good example of this is "china-specific" pricing. everyone pirates in china, therefore many software companies compete with that by lowering their prices to a fraction of what we pay.

Re:Less Piracy - Less DRM? WRONG! (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | about 6 years ago | (#24999687)

If they decrease DRM, and sales go up and piracy goes down... Now yeah, some business guys are dumb... but the obvious conclusion is...

Re:Less Piracy - Less DRM? WRONG! (1)

Ren.Tamek (898017) | about 6 years ago | (#24999847)

It's strange how these people think isn't it?

"People are pirating our game? We need copy protection and DRM!"
"Piracy is still high, it's not working... more DRM will fix this!"
"Piracy is going down? Obviously DRM is working!"
"Games sales are still too low? It can't be due to our unsustainable business model and crapware, those pirates must still be thieving our stuff!"

It's amazing how many people swallow their crap when there real agenda is pretty clear to see - they want to eliminate second hand sales and casual game sharing. It ain't going to work, it's not going to be particularly beneficial, and by the time they realise that consumer trust will have fallen through the floor.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24999121)

Worthless.

As if these restrictions won't be/haven't been cracked.

Pure conjecture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24999147)

Hopefully, if the piracy rate for the game is low, perhaps EA will get comfortable enough to ship with even less DRM in the future.

No, thats not how it works. Such hope should be placed with a company who has their customer's best interest as a priority. Not EA. Customer Service is the tenth thing on their list-to-do. They are geared to do the least amount of work possible to keep the customers from bitching. I can't say that I blame them, but I can say that having hope in them to pull back restrictions after everyone has quieted down is crazy. If they had that faith in their customer base, they wouldn't have gone the DRM route in the first place, now would they?

Yeah, sure its because of some comments on Amazon (0, Flamebait)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | about 6 years ago | (#24999171)

Not requiring the CD is nothing new - Spore doesn't need it nor does anything downloaded from the digital store - hasn't for years. The 5 activation thing is more, but 3,5, what's the right number? 100? I think people's issue is with the SecurRom stuff that is resident while you play the game right? Anyways, unless people protest every single game that comes out (including Steam!) from the game industry, this is a small isolated, and quickly forgotten event. The industry is moving past CD checks, and for most people 5 installations, no CD check and a one time activation is not a hassle. They're probably still running bonzai buddy, do you really think they give a rat's ass about securom?

    I'm not really sure what's the way to go on it, but I know posting some BS FUD on Amazon like "SONY ROOTKITTED ME OMG!" and claiming victory when they raise the install limit to 5 is not the way to go.

Re:Yeah, sure its because of some comments on Amaz (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 6 years ago | (#24999381)

what's the right number? 100?

Well, there's the point. If I need to install it 101 times, why should they stop me? There shouldn't be a limit. I can get hold of a pirated copy really quite easily. What this does do is prevent resale. I can get a copy of C&C3 quite easily off ebay. EA aren't going to make a penny from this sale. This is the point. This reduces the value to the customer. It removes the customer's ownership.

Re:Yeah, sure its because of some comments on Amaz (5, Insightful)

garett_spencley (193892) | about 6 years ago | (#24999397)

"I'm not really sure what's the way to go on it, but I know posting some BS FUD on Amazon like "SONY ROOTKITTED ME OMG!" and claiming victory when they raise the install limit to 5 is not the way to go."

I buy from Amazon a lot.. and I've also been waiting anxiously for Spore. So I went on over to Amazon the other day to pre-order it and was a little shocked to see 1 star ratings. So I read the reviews. They were a very far cry from "SONY ROOTKITTED ME OMG!". They were thorough, intelligent, well thought-out and actually educated me on the whole securom thing as I haven't been on /. that much lately and missed the article(s) about Spore's DRM.

Anyway, the comments actually persuaded me to not buy the game. I don't feel like paying hard-earned money for something that will only install X number of times (even if the number is 1,000 I don't care. Like other people I've still got games that are 15+ years old that I install every once in a while for old-time's sake) and will phone home and require an Internet connection every time I play it etc.

Customer feedback is the single most important thing that a business needs to pay attention to in order to succeed. Restaurants can not grow without reading comment cards and responding to their customers complaints and suggestions. Game companies can not grow by pissing off their customers. If EA ignores the negative feedback about this DRM then they deserve to be out of business in a couple of years. I was going to e-mail them to explain why I decided not to buy Spore but I couldn't find a contact address. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Re:Yeah, sure its because of some comments on Amaz (1)

cryptodan (1098165) | about 6 years ago | (#24999461)

(including Steam!)

When and if VALVe falls over dead, they will release a patch that will allow you to play your games unauthenticated.

Re:Yeah, sure its because of some comments on Amaz (1)

Idolminds (547797) | about 6 years ago | (#24999839)

When and if VALVe falls over dead, they will release a patch that will allow you to play your games unauthenticated.

That's what they say, anyway. We don't know if they really will do that until it actually happens.

Hopefully you've made backups of all your games since you won't be able to redownload them anymore. You could download someone elses backup, which anyone could do. With Steam no longer checking to see if you own the game, I guess that means every game on Steam will be free to anyone that wants it. No cracks. No hacks. Do you think all the publishers that have games on Steam would let that happen?

Re:Yeah, sure its because of some comments on Amaz (3, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | about 6 years ago | (#24999955)

How on earth will this make any more money to them? Do you think that the lawyers that will handle the closure of the company will care a single bit about releasing a patch? Do you think the programmers that has not been payed for 3 months will care to help out the company one more time? I'm sorry, but you seem to live in some strange universe. Unless there's a signed contract between you and the company, there's a very small chance that they will do anything at all just for goodwill, when they are already in debt and shutting down.

Re:Yeah, sure its because of some comments on Amaz (1)

cryptodan (1098165) | about 6 years ago | (#25000091)

Think about all the class action level law suits and everyone's possessions that worked for VALVe being sold off at auctions to get funding for money to pay out to people.

Re:Yeah, sure its because of some comments on Amaz (1)

DarkSabreLord (1067044) | about 6 years ago | (#24999605)

short of the difficulty of offline play, I don't know too many people with genuine complaints about Steam. It doesn't mess up your computer, it doesn't limit how many different machines you can play your games on, it allows for easy access to all the software you have purchased regardless of machine or how many times you may have changed "critical components".

Contrast to having to call to beg for more reinstallations for something as simple as having upgraded your graphics card or needing to reformat...

Re:Yeah, sure its because of some comments on Amaz (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#24999759)

Plus it works under wine. My pirated versions of Valve games don't. It's more I'm too distrustful of anyone but myself managing my digital rights after too many burns.

The companies are saying trust us. My response is, trust me. You trust me and I won't spread your game. I won't steal it. I have never pirated a game without DRM when I could still buy it legally (sorry Microprose games from '85)

Raise arms against me and see what someone of even average intelligence can do to all your best-laid plans.

Re:Yeah, sure its because of some comments on Amaz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24999837)

another plus, unlike securom and other DRM's, it doesn't hide in the background when you arn't playing games. well it can run in background obviously, but it won't be hiding.

Re:Yeah, sure its because of some comments on Amaz (3, Interesting)

jma05 (897351) | about 6 years ago | (#24999915)

I would gladly take CD checks over limited installs any day. Red Alert series is known for its replayability and people play it for years on end, unlike most games. Limited install don't cut it.

EA, let us pick our poison. Enable limited installs only if the I choose the disk check to not bother them. However, the problem seems to be that disk checking is now seen as an unreliable method by the companies.

Also, do these companies plan to ultimately release patches that remove DRM after a set period of time?, say 3-5 years when they won't be running authentication servers or just simply decide that you don't own the game anymore?

a small victory. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24999185)

it's a step. keep protesting and keep pirating and one day we'll see a more consumer-friendly business model.

what what what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24999225)

Why would such a marginal "improvement" make the slightest difference in how many people decide to actually buy the game?

At some point, the intelligent game publishers are going to realize that they're spending a lot of money in copy protection licensing fees and extra customer service, while the pirates are entirely unaffected. Spore already had the online service as a major component of the game; that can be easily and naturally restricted to paying customers only. There was absolutely no sane justification, aside from the usual corporate feel-good CYA bullshit, to incorporate any kind of copy protection.

I actually was going to spend my 50 Euro on Spore until I heard about the DRM. I'm not a fanatic, but *three* installs before I have to deal with customer service? That is absolute bullshit. I dual boot XP and Vista64, I reinstall frequently, I have multiple machines. No way was I spending money for the privilege of experiencing major headaches when I try to install a fucking game. Turns out I'm glad I didn't spend the money, because it's a nice LEGO-y toy, but as a game it's pretty crap.

DRM, the snake oil of content producers (5, Insightful)

David Gerard (12369) | about 6 years ago | (#24999275)

No airtight DRM is possible (and Spore's already been cracked). But content producers are so obsessed with absolute control that they'll beg people to take money to sell them snake oil. Of course, this always works [rocknerd.co.uk] . Yeah.

Others speculate the real target of game DRM is to kill the second-hand market [neoseeker.com] . But, of course, that does no good when the competition is the cracked copies. Piracy: The Better Choice. [theinquirer.net]

Re:DRM, the snake oil of content producers (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#24999775)

What about watermarking as DRM? It doesn't strike me as that objectionable, and if you started pressing criminal charges against people found distributing their copies...

Re:DRM, the snake oil of content producers (2, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | about 6 years ago | (#24999875)

So what about First Sale Doctrine?

I have a RIGHT to sell whatever I want, especially what I buy from a boxed store.

Re:DRM, the snake oil of content producers (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#24999973)

I fail to see how that affects anything. The idea here is that they're going after copies they download off BT...making available + transferring = infringement.

Re:DRM, the snake oil of content producers (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | about 6 years ago | (#25000231)

It's not hard to remove watermarks.

Get X versions of the file with watermarks. Now, use diff between them to create a diff on each pair. Determine the relationship of watermarks.

Then remove said watermarks. If removal is not possible, mutilate them so they are unrecoverable. If mutiliation is not possible, copy watermarked file from a fake buyer, "John Q. Public". Disposable "credit cards" are quite nice.

Company sues John Q Public. Nobody knows who that is.

Watermarks assume that I cannot transfer OWNERSHIP from myself to somebody else. I can, and I will.

Re:DRM, the snake oil of content producers (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#25000325)

You make a fair point. That said, I think that it would reduce the number of people willing/able/non-lazy enough to break it. Remember, boring DRM = less interesting.

More importantly, it wouldn't dissuade honest customers. We can NEVER stop pirates.

Re:DRM, the snake oil of content producers (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 6 years ago | (#24999895)

I never actually understood the executives obsession with the 2nd hand games market. The amount of re-investment there has to be huge. Everyone I know that sells their games just goes and buys new games with the money they collected. Sure there will always be "leaks", and ultimately it probably does cost them a tiny bit of revenue, but judging by their reaction you would think that they would fold tomorrow if everyone could sell their games..... Seems like a case of cutting off the nose to spite the face.

Re:DRM, the snake oil of content producers (1)

David Gerard (12369) | about 6 years ago | (#24999989)

Record companies loathe and despise the second-hand market too. The first-sale doctrine never did go down well with them.

Activation? What Activation? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24999283)

The version I just got off of usenet didn't ask me to... oh, nevermind, that's right, DRM is only meant to piss off ACTUAL customers.

I'll be enjoying my drmFREE game now. kthxbye.

You're fixing the wrong problems! (4, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | about 6 years ago | (#24999311)

Having to have a CD in the drive is a minor inconvenience. Easily solved (put the CD in the drive. any legitimate user will have one).

Having to call EA to persuade them to let you install the game a sixth time is a potential inconvenience. EA may not exist in a year or two. I might still want to play the game if EA doesn't exist! We're still leasing. Just because we're leasing on more generous terms doesn't mean we're getting a better deal. They've clobbered any potential resale value.

If piracy is low, EA will assume this works and use this scheme every time.

Pirate this as well!

Re:You're fixing the wrong problems! (2, Informative)

UncleTogie (1004853) | about 6 years ago | (#24999411)

Having to have a CD in the drive is a minor inconvenience. Easily solved (put the CD in the drive. any legitimate user will have one).

I see... Just how how many copies of ONE game should I buy due to disk wear?

I had to buy ANOTHER copy of C&C:Renegade to replace the disk worn from years of use... just so I could PLAY the game I supposedly had rights to play. I wish people would quit assuming that the only people that use no-CD cracks are those that're pirating the game.

Re:You're fixing the wrong problems! (1)

Stevecrox (962208) | about 6 years ago | (#24999651)

The number you need to call to get your installation revalidated isn't free, from the UK your looking at something like £1/£1.50 a minute to get you perfectly legitimate copy of a game working.

People on slashdot have frequently complained about about Windows activation which ues a free number (no matter where you are) asks you 2-3 simple questions (how many machines is this installed on, why are you reinstalling and where did you get the disc) and can be gotten through in roughly 4 minutes. In short you get flagged but the onus is on you to come out and say your a pirate and your assumed to be a normal customer.
Reading the EA forums in can take upto an hour to get through a customer service rep who then seems to go out of there way to accuse you of piracy. EA's spore servers have suffered several technical faults and they don't even have a complete list of all of the valid keys they have distributed.

I agree with you that disc's do wear out and if EA were offering a system similar to Steam I would have probably bought Spore and Red Alert 3. As it stands EA appear to be trying to slip a rental system in through the back door and considering what secuRom does (rootkitting your pc) and the slashdot reaction to the Sony music rootkit fiasco I'm amazed that more people aren't complaining.

I say all this as a person who loves the C&C/Red Alert series, I won't buy a game which has limited re-installs and decides it should be able to root kit my pc to protect itself,

Re:Generous terms ? Compromise ? Haha. (2, Insightful)

mxs (42717) | about 6 years ago | (#24999715)

I can see a tiny bit of a case for the CD-check (though quite honestly, no, I do not agree with it -- it's YET ANOTHER thing that pirates don't have to deal with. If you have kids, you will definitely not want them to handle unprotected (physically) media too much -- the scratches will be a killjoy; Legitimate owners of games have been using NoCD-patches for AGES; it's ineffective, it inconveniences your customers (the ones that PAY you for the game, no less), etc.

The leasing is not really on any "generous" terms; 5 installs is exactly as bad as 3. 10 would be as bad as 5. Having to justify why you want to install the game again in a few years' time is laughable. Again, pirates do not have to deal with that crap. At all. Generosity would start at services such as you being able to download the entirety of the game if your media is scratched, perhaps by way of submitting your CD key or a picture of the receipt. But hell, that would actually make life easier for customers. Can't have that.

Yes, the submitter seems to be a shill for EA, painting this in a positive light and encouraging not to pirate to show them we appreciate it. No. I do not appreciate it. I own several C&C games. I will not be buying the next one. Congratulations EA, you just lost another sale.

Has anyone confirmed three activations on Spore (2, Informative)

DingerX (847589) | about 6 years ago | (#24999325)

Because there are reports circulating [rockpapershotgun.com] that Spore actually has five activations.

In any case, "relaxing to five" is still a kick in the crotch, or would be if EA didn't censor that part of my creatures.

Re:Has anyone confirmed three activations on Spore (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 6 years ago | (#24999985)

Since it's server side, I'd imagine that you just have to configure a number in a file or table to change the number of activations ; perhaps Spore and Red Alert are on the same database?

Three activations was widely speculated to be the door-in-the-face, with five "not sounding so bad".

OTOH, Stardock did things the right way ; they got me to fill in a survey (I said - No DRM!), and gave me a 20% coupon code, which encouraged me to buy a game that isn't even released yet. Now that's the right way to market games....

Re:Has anyone confirmed three activations on Spore (1)

Narishma (822073) | about 6 years ago | (#25000401)

It doesn't matter if it's 3 or 5 or 100. The point is that they can stop you from playing a game you legally purchased. And they shouldn't be able to do that.

Hopefully they'll feel more comfortable? (1)

xwizbt (513040) | about 6 years ago | (#24999329)

That comment 'Hopefully, if the piracy rate for the game is low, perhaps EA will get comfortable enough to ship with even less DRM in the future' really rankles for some reason. It's as though we're being told 'You were all very naughty for making Spore the most pirated game in history. EA has compromised a little, so perhaps if you're all good little boys and girls EA will compromise even more.' How about no DRM, since it's only the paying customers who are inconvenienced by it.

You want to make it inconvenient for pirates, go ahead. You want to make it inconvenient for paying customers, you end up with more pirates. How about EA puts no DRM on it and maybe consumers will be comfortable enough to buy it?

Thanks for the warning (5, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 6 years ago | (#24999379)

Limited installs is not acceptable. I am off to cancel my Red Alert preorder and leave a nasty review.

Re:Thanks for the warning (1)

ThePawArmy (952965) | about 6 years ago | (#24999661)

Just Canceled mine, Now... what new game to buy.

Not about piracy... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24999447)

"Hopefully, if the piracy rate for the game is low, perhaps EA will get comfortable enough to ship with even less DRM in the future."

It's NOT about piracy, it's about removing the ability to transfer your game to someone else (used game sales, lending to a friend, etc).

Inverted Bait and Switch (1)

CharonX (522492) | about 6 years ago | (#24999491)

Ah, the good old Baid and Switch trick, but this time done in reverse.
First they try to force-feed us with some outright horrible DRM, and now they try to sell us a slighly lighter variant of this DRM as an "improvement".
I promised myself never to buy a DRM laden "can't ever resell" game. That's also the reason why I never bought HL2 or Bioshock. If I BUY a game I want to OWN it, and not only be able to install and/or play the game at the publisher's pleasure.

DRM in games must go! (4, Informative)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 6 years ago | (#24999515)

Why is it we still have silly piracy protection like starforce and securom? Just the other day I was fighting with Crysis, it suddenly would hang when launched. What was worse was that damn securom CD icon that hijacks your mouse cursor wouldn't go away until a reboot. So what did I have to do? Go to game copy world and download a patched "no DVD" exe for a game I BOUGHT WITH MY MONEY! Now what is sad. The execs should pull their heads out of their asses and see that they are wasting dev time and money with buggy and possibly destructive DRM. Piracy cant be defeated with silly cd check mechanisms, cd keys, phone homes, or dongles. It just doesn't work and will be cracked within days. Please stop screwing us after we already paid for the software.

Fuck EA and all their studios that bow under pressure to "protect" their IP. Spore sounds like an amazing game but that will be marred for many who have to fight with suckrom constantly crashing. Looks like another legit game that will have to be cracked to work. And ONLY 5 installs? What happens after 5 years if I want to play again? Will there be someone at an EA support desk to give me a new key? What if EA goes under? Unbelievable.

Re:DRM in games must go! (1)

Aereus (1042228) | about 6 years ago | (#24999607)

I spent 6 hours trying to get Brothers in Arms to run "legitimately" on my PC after buying it. I eventually gave up and downloaded the no DVD crack to get it running. Quite sad.

Re:DRM in games must go! (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | about 6 years ago | (#24999821)

Why even buy it?

Pirate version on Piratebay is pre-cracked and works 100%.

Your paid for version doesnt work 100%.

Re:DRM in games must go! (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 6 years ago | (#25000101)

Perhaps he has this archaic belief that people should be compensated for their efforts? That if no-one paid for games, there would be nothing but homebrew? Perhaps he enjoys playing games with high production values?

I personally think it's a shame that many of the developers whose games I enjoyed in the 80s have folded, because the ones that are left are benefitting from their hard work. I was never going to buy games back then because I had no disposable income. Now I don't hesitate .... except when confronted by this kind of DRM.

What improvement? (3, Insightful)

BarneyL (578636) | about 6 years ago | (#24999541)

Spore gave us infinity minus three too few installs.
Red Alert 3 will give us infinity minus five too few installs. Not an improvement in my book.
I don't think the install limit is really about piracy anyway, it's a method to force you to buy the game more than once and to prevent you from buying it second hand.

So its exactly the same (2, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | about 6 years ago | (#24999647)

Everything on RA 3 is exactly the same as Spore, except with a 5 instead of a 3. Nothing has changed. Its clear that EA doesn't get it, and they'll need a few games to completely bomb before they do.

Some Compromise! (3, Funny)

Lord Kano (13027) | about 6 years ago | (#24999681)

EA says they will have staff standing by to grant more installations as necessary on a case by case basis. So, while this still isn't optimal, at least we are getting a compromise.

This is like a rapist saying that instead of anally violating you, he'll settle for oral. It's a shitty compromise.

LK

Re:Some Compromise! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24999827)

Not as shitty as your analogy.

Fucktard.

This is good (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 6 years ago | (#25000199)

I liked that on Earth 2160 and I think it's good here too, it even has a positive in the form of not needing the disc to play.

"At least we are getting a compromise" (2, Insightful)

Reed Solomon (897367) | about 6 years ago | (#25000207)

EA says they will have staff standing by to grant more installations as necessary on a case by case basis. So, while this still isn't optimal, at least we are getting a compromise. Hopefully, if the piracy rate for the game is low, perhaps EA will get comfortable enough to ship with even less DRM in the future."

No. Not even in the face of Armageddon. Never compromise.

COMPROMISE? Yeah, instead of renting a game for 3 installs, you're renting it for 5. WELL WHOOPDEEDOO. I'm not paying for what amounts to a RENTAL. Maybe EA thinks they can buy copyright legislation and force DRM down our throats, but I won't be a part of it. They've pushed me too far.

If the piracy rate is low for their DRM'ed program perhaps they will have one with no DRM? What is wrong with you? NO! If there is ANY DRM AT ALL then it is fair game to pirate. I won't pay for a refrigerator with a lock on it that I can only get food out of if its plugged in to a GE power supply. Screw DRM. Any limits on our consumer rights are crimes against humanity.

This was the stupidest, worst reasoned article I've ever read on slashdot. And I remember the days of Jon Katz.

Boycotting DRM (3, Interesting)

Artemis3 (85734) | about 6 years ago | (#25000247)

Unless DRM is dropped, I'm not buying games anymore. It was painful enough to deal with "CD must be in drive" hoping for a good no-cd crack to be released by the community; but now this... XP style activation? Limited number of activations? Unacceptable.

Why fix Red Alert if people are upset about Spore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25000265)

I don't understand why they are fixing the DRM problem with Red Alert if its the people who want to buy Spore are complaining. I wasn't intending to buy Red Alert anyway...so them easing the restrictions on it isn't going to make me want to play it.

Lunacy.

Pussy Nazi Sez (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25000275)

No pussy for YOU!

Bad logic hiding at the end, there (1)

pUr3d0xYk (936029) | about 6 years ago | (#25000313)

"Hopefully, if the piracy rate for the game is low, perhaps EA will get comfortable enough to ship with even less DRM in the future."

...Why link DRM to piracy rates, when the DRM on Spore made MORE people pirate it, and most DRM doesn't do much of anything to prevent it? All DRM does is f*ck up computers, infringe on people's legitimate rights (like the right of first sale), and anger and inconvenience customers.

If EA wants a good reason to get rid of its poorly-implemented, rights-infringing crap, it couldn't ask for a much better one than "customers hate it and hate you for it".

Fix Spore. Not Red Alert. Duh! (1)

molotovjester (1273662) | about 6 years ago | (#25000319)

I want the DRM with Spore Fixed. How does appeasing the angry people who want Spore have anything to do with the Red Alert?

I wasn't planning on buying Red Alert with 3 installs, 5 or an infinite number.

I would have considering buying spore without the phone home, the CD but fixing Red Alert doesnt make me want to buy it since I didn't want it in the first place.

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